Japanese Amulets: My Collection of Omamori


As a minimalist, I don’t have many collections but I make an exception for two things: tarot decks and omamori, or Japanese good luck amulets. I began this collection over ten years ago when I studied abroad in Japan and this collection has been slowly growing ever since. There’s something so genuinely cheerful about picking up a handful of good luck to bring back home with me each time I visit Japan.


These colorful pouches can be found all over Japan and are mostly sold in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. The kanji for the term omamori means “to guide or protect” and these items are meant to be placed in places you interact with daily such as your wallet, your purse, your home, or your car.

There is one rule with omamori - don’t open the bag! Inside each cloth bag is a tiny piece of wood upon which a small prayer is written. If you open the bag all the good luck and protection is released and dissipates. There are many different kinds of omamori that you can find in Japan through you can commonly find ones dedicated to success, love, prosperity, education, and safety.

At this point I have a collection of different types of omamori picked up at various shrines and temples. Some locations even have a specialized omamori you can only purchase there, so in a way collecting omamori is a bit like a spiritual scavenger hunt. If you’re ever in Japan, I recommend picking up a couple omamori while you’re there. As the proceeds go to the shrines and temples it’s a great way to support the local spiritual community and it definitely doesn’t hurt to come home with an extra bit of good luck in your pocket.